Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy said on Friday that the Bharatiya Janata Party will win upcoming bye-polls in West Bengal, PTI reported. But he quickly corrected his slip of the tongue.
The former Union minister for railways returned to the Trinamool Congress on June 11 after having spent more than three years in the BJP. In the recently-concluded West Bengal Assembly elections, he won from the Krishnanagar North seat on a BJP ticket.
Speaking to reporters at the Trinamool office on Friday, Roy said that the BJP will convincingly win the Assembly bye-polls in Bengal and the Tripura Assembly elections next year. “There is not an iota of doubt in that,” he said.
Later, Roy corrected himself and said that the TMC will win. “The ‘Maa Mati Manush’ party [TMC] will remain the winner...and [will] open its account in Tripura as well,” he said.
Commenting on Mukul Roy’s gaffe, his son Subhranshu Roy told News18 that the TMC leader has been suffering from depression since his wife’s death recently.
“There is immense sodium potassium imbalance in my father’s body that is leading to a lot of problems,” Subhranshu Roy said. “He is forgetting everything. We are really concerned about his health. His words should not be blown out of proportion.”
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said that Roy betrayed voters in the Krishnanagar North constituency and that he has lost credibility, PTI reported. “But he has spoken the truth...The truth perhaps came out as he is under tremendous mental stress,” Bhattacharya said.
Bye-elections are expected to be held for seven seats of the West Bengal Assembly. These seats are currently vacant either on account of resignations or deaths of the MLAs representing them.
One of these seats is Bhabanipur, from where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to contest. Senior Trinamool Congress leader Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who won the seat in the state elections, resigned from his post as an MLA in May.
Banerjee needs to get elected from one of the Assembly constituencies in the state, as she lost out to Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and former aide Suvendu Adhikari on the Nandigram seat, even as her party secured an overwhelming majority in the 294-member Assembly. Article 164(4) of the Constitution says that individuals can take oath as a minister even if they are not MLAs, but will have to get elected within a period of six months after being sworn in.
The Election Commission has not yet announced dates for the bye-elections.
The Tripura Assembly election is expected to be held in 2023.